EP marks both the rebirth of his Bergerac label and the start of a busy 2016 that will culminate with the release of a new album
The first time IDJ encountered Danny Berman, he was midway through putting out a series of illicit reworks of hip-hop and modern soul jams under the now-familiar Red Rack'em pseudonym.
In the decade since, the 39-year-old producer has notched up quite a discography, releasing deep house and techno for the likes of Wolf Music, City Fly, Untracked and Pattern, as well as an album of live electrofunk, disco and left-of-centre pop for Sonar Kollektiv under his Hot Coins alias. In other words, he's ridden the music industry merry-go-round and lived to tell the tale.
"I'm excited again!" he enthuses down the phone from his Berlin base. "I'm in a really good place right now – in some ways, the best place I've ever been. When I was going out all the time, I didn't have time to focus on my music. I really got sucked into the Berlin lifestyle, like most people do. Now I'm in a serious relationship, am focused on my music again, and can see the results. I've got confidence in my music again."
By his usually prolific standards, Berman has been rather quiet of late, following a flurry of activity in 2014. It seems he was taking stock, revisiting his archives and planning his next move. Finally, he's ready to show his hand. This month sees the re-launch of the Bergerac label he founded in 2010, but put on ice back in 2012.
"I think I forgot the joy of releasing records yourself," Berman admits. "I got caught up releasing with other labels, and took my foot off the gas a bit. Now, after a year of hard work I'm ready to kick on. The music I'll be releasing is stuff that I really believe in."
First up is a three-track EP led by Wonky Bassline Disco Banger, a riotous floor-filler that joins the dots between loopy disco-house and the jazz-inspired, synth-heavy madness of Maurice Fulton's Syclops project. It's arguably one of Berman's strongest tracks to date, and comes complimented by a couple of deep, jazzy, soulful, sample-heavy house cuts that see him return to his Red Rack'em roots.
"I don't play many of my productions when I DJ, but the response to this one has been off the chain," he says excitedly. "I was trying to make a track that everyone could tolerate, but really push the edge of what was possible with it. I don't think it fits other labels, but it fits Bergerac. It's really me."
The EP's release is just the start of a flurry of activity that will culminate in the release of a new Red Rack'em album, Self Portrait, in the autumn. "Wonky Bassline Disco Banger has a lot of influences on it, and all of those influences are distilled across the album," Berman enthuses. "There's not one track out of the 12 that's the same as another track. There's something for everyone. They're club tracks, but it goes all over the place – I would compare it in some ways to Mr Scruff. It's that kind of eclectic, genre-less dance music."
Words: Matt Anniss
Wonky Disco Bassline Banger is out on Bergerac Records on vinyl on 29 February, and digitally on 14 March